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The Rye Record Article

Proposed Plan for United Hospital Meets Opposition From Rye Residents

Date: Thursday, September 10, 2015

By Rye Record Staff

A Committee of Port Chester and Rye residents has written to Port Chester Mayor Dennis Pilla and the Village Board of Trustees requesting major changes to the proposed Starwood Development project on the abandoned United Hospital property at Boston Post Road and High Street. As currently envisioned, the project includes over 1,050,000 square feet of commercial, retail, and residential space, plus 1,380 parking spaces.

The developer anticipates a three-year construction period on the 154-acre site to complete a 135-room hotel, 500 residential apartments, 230 senior apartments, 90,000 square feet of retail space, and 217,000 square feet of wellness space. It also assumes the need for 1,566 daily workers, who will also need parking places.

The ad-hoc steering committee cites a traffic study, commissioned by the City of Rye, which projects major increases in traffic on Rye streets. They urge the Village of Port Chester to only approve replacing the 538,000 square feet of the former United Hospital, which would be within Port Chester’s existing zoning.

Maser Consulting, the firm engaged by Rye to review Port Chester’s traffic analysis, identifies 40 issues that will impact traffic on Rye’s local streets, especially High Street, Evergreen Avenue, Hillside Road, Grandview Avenue, Elizabeth Street, New Street, Cedar Street, Ridge Street, and Peck Avenue.

In their letter to Mayor Pilla and the Village Board of Trustees, Rye neighbors noted that the Kohl’s Shopping Center currently has 441,000 of occupied square feet, and the proposed project is the equivalent of more than two Kohl’s shopping centers.

While Rye neighbors wrote that they would be happy to see the former United site rejuvenated, they emphasized that “the proximity of the project to our neighborhood means that our neighborhood will bear the brunt of many of the traffic, safety, noise, and air pollution, and other issues that a project of the proposed magnitude will inevitably bring.”

Traffic safety is on the minds of neighborhood families and those with students at nearby Rye Country Day School. “Traffic in the neighborhood, including truck traffic, increased noticeably when Whole Foods opened in the Kohl’s Shopping Center. We request that the Board make safety its number one priority when making decisions about how large a development to permit and how traffic, particularly truck traffic, can be routed away from neighborhood streets.”

Just as construction noise, particularly from rock chipping, is a hot-button issue in Rye, local residents expressed concern about air, noise, and trash pollution from the project.

The committee asked to see the required NYS Department of Transportation review, which is not yet available, and asked that an engineering report on the High Street Bridge be performed before any work is begun.

The link to the Maser Traffic Study is
www.egovlink.com/public_documents300/rye/unpublished_documents/City%20News%20section/08-15/United%20Hospital%20traffic%20review.pdf.

The link to the Draft Environmental Impact Study is
www.portchesterny.com/Pages/PortChesterNY_Starwoodsite/United%20Hospital%20DEIS%20Volume%201%20of%202%20Accepted%207-20-15.pdf.

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